I don't know about you but getting in an editor or agents slushpile is one of my worse nightmares. I've heard that Harlequin's Mills and Boons gets over 50,000 submissions a year. They might accept 1 or 2 out of that number. I guess that would be better than any lottery out there, but still I get chills thinking of those numbers. Here's a top ten list of how to get out of that slush pile.
1. Join contests. Finaling in a contest will get your novel in front of an agent's or editor's nose. (I personally I'm a contest whore)
2. Conferences. They are soooo important. Meet an agent and editor at a conference. Many times they will ask for your submission. That way you can put the golden words --- "Requested Material". I really adore that two words.
3. Network, network, network. Did I say network? Get to know other writers in your area. Join writing groups. If you can't find one near you, there's always the internet.
4. Polish your query letter, synopsis and first three chapters until the sun literally glares off those pages. Make sure the basics are perfect, like grammer, sentence structure, formatting, etc.
5. Do research. Make sure you are submitting to the right agent or editor. Check out what they are looking for and what their favorite submissions are.
6. Professionalism. Don't tell an agent or editor why they have to have you, that you're the next Nora Roberts or Stephen King. Make sure there isn't loose hair stuck on those pages or for that matter the hint of a coffee stain on any of the pages. Yuck! :)
7. Know your agent or publisher. Do not submit a blind cover/query letter by using To Whom It May Concern. That's surely going to turn off the recipient.
8. Be persistant. Don't give up. Just because you've gotten a rejection doesn't mean that you'll never get published. It's subjective. One agent or editor my hate your writing while another may drool over it.
9. Dont' give up. Okay maybe I'm repeating myself here, but this is really important. How do you know if you'll ever get published if you decide to throw in that towel? Persistance is the name. Yeah, there are people out there that have more talent, but are they PERSISTANT?
10. Lastly just use some common sense. Period. If you think you can get away with it, you probably can't.
Now got out there and get that book published!